ANGEL STRIKE SINKS SAINTS
By Nic Evans
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
George Boateng opened the scoring after just nine minutes and made it two on the quarter hour mark thanks to Juan Pablo Angel. In an amazing end to the first half, Pahars scored and Anders Svensson almost equalised, but in the second half, an end to end game with two red cards, was finished by Moustapha Hadji's header 11 minutes from time.
The Saints started off well and Peter Schmeichel was at full stretch to keep out a second minute header from Kevin Davies, but it was the visitors that opened the scoring against the run of play.
Juan Pablo Angel's possible foul on Tahar El-Khalej went unpunished and the diminutive striker ran on well before playing a great square ball to Dion Dublin, the big striker deftly played in George Boateng and the Dutchman finished with a powerful effort into the roof of the net.
Just six minutes later and it was 2-0 when good work from Hagi in midfield saw him cross for Angel. Intricate passing play between Dublin, Lee Hendrie and Angel ended with the Colombian running onto a lay-off and toe-poking it past Paul Jones.
Southampton hit back and Pahars should have scored in the 18th minute but hit his shot wide, whilst Schmeichel was in excellent form to keep out James Beattie's effort.
Angel saw his 40th minute header thunder against the bar and this rejuvenated the home side as Pahars nipped in between two defenders to plant a header past Schmeichel from Davies's pinpoint cross.
Indeed Southampton could have gone into the break all square as the Villa defence gave Davies far too much room on the right and his cross into the box caused panic. Olof Mellberg cleared with an excellent defensive header but in their rush to clear the ball, they presented it to Svensson who shot just past the post.
At the beginning of the second period, Angel had two chances to increase Southampton's lead but he screwed his first shot wide and then following excellent work by Hadji and Mark Delaney, he blazed over the bar.
Referee Steve Dunn got in on the act in the 52 minute when he sent off Rory Delap for a professional foul as Kachloul raced through, replays suggested it was slightly harsh as there was contact but the former Derby man appeared to be going across his man.
Five minutes later, Dublin was ordered off as a bust-up in the Villa box left El-Khalej rolling around after contact with the ex-Manchester United star. After consultations with both assistant referees, Dunn also ordered off Dublin for violent conduct, an alleged headbutt being the reason.
From the resulting free kick Beattie went close with a diving header.
As the game wound to a close Villa got more space, substitute Bosko Balaban raced clear down the right but his cut back for Hadji was just out of the Moroccan's reach. A sliding Hendrie also went close which was the cue for Matthew Le Tissier to make his entrance to the game.
Within a minute, Villa were 3-1 up as the Southampton defence fell asleep from a throw in and Hendrie crossed for Hadji to head home.
Le Tissier went close with a trademark free kick but it was Villa that could have had more, with Balaban racing in one-on-one with Jones, only to see his shot saved by the keeper's legs.
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